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Sunday, November 4

Awfully Familiar

“Sure it is, since we’re the only ones who know how to make it. I seen what Modav done to the other thirty rats before Scrap.” He pointed a long finger at me. It was like being poked at by a dead branch. “I may be forgetful but I’m no fool.”

“Scrap?” Corwin snickered. “You named ‘im then?”

“Aye,” said Spindle indignantly. “He’s a scrapper, he is. I thought it appropriate.”

“To name ‘im?”

“Well we’ve got t’ give ‘im a name if we’re gonna enter him in another contest.”

“What?” Corwin took a step forward towards Spindle. “Are you daft?”

“I’m not daft,” said Spindle. “I’m smart. Maybe not smart enough t’ beat that exam, but smart enough to take those high-flyin’ blokes’ money, with their good families and their silk shirts.”

“He was a fluke!” Corwin said, practically shouting.

Spindle shushed him.

“A fluke,” Corwin repeated, a little quieter. “You just said yourself about how many rats we went through. And I don’t think I have to remind you that I lost a lot of money on ‘em too.”

“WE lost a lot of money,” interjected Spindle.

“Aye. And with that hole burnin’ in yer pocket I’d think you’d be a bit more stung by it all.”

Spindle took out a small bag from his belt pouch. The man fairly bristled with things hanging from his belt. “Not anymore.” He handed Corwin the lumpy contents. “We just made it all back and then some."

Corwin opened his mouth, then clamped it shut. He rifled through the contents. As he did so, his eyebrows knitted, making his nose look like a bird about to take flight. “People lost a lot of money. And a rat killed Big Bertha. Wouldn’t be surprised if they want to check into ‘em.”

“Aye, we’ll have to keep him under lock and key. But I think he’s our ticket to success, mate. Maybe we buy a round o’ drinks at th’ Dirty Scroll. The other students’ll come around.”

“And what of the Professor?” asked Corwin. “Big Bertha was a dragon analogue, the Professor tested all his spells on her.”

“She died eatin’ a bad rat. It happens.”

“He’s gonna be suspicious.”

“Of course he is,” said Spindle. “And we’re gonna be calm and collected, but let ‘im think that maybe we poisoned his pet snake. So long as he don’t suspect the truth.”

“That th’ two students he flunked made some super rat juice?”

“Aye,” grinned Spindle. “And that we’re gonna make a pile of gold off of Scrap here.”

They both looked at me.

“What you have in mind, then?” asked Corwin.

“Three words,” said Spindle, ticking off skinny stubs of fingers, “Rat. Baiting. Dog.”

They looked at me. And that’s when I discovered that rats have no control over their bowels.

5330 / 50000 words. 11% done!


posted by Michael Tresca at 9:21 PM

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